Scary Study: Every Extra Hour of Sitting Increases the Risk of Diabetes by 22%

Sedentary behavior at least partly preceded the development of type 2 diabetes
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Is this really the number? The connection between a sedentary lifestyle and various diseases is not new. But the huge numerical link between every extra 60 minutes people spend sitting and diabetes is somewhat of a shock.

A recently released Dutch study indicates that people with type 2 diabetes spent close to half an hour more of their day on a couch or sitting at a computer than those without the illness. After the math was done, it turned out that just an extra hour is enough to increase your chance of developing the condition by 22 percent. Separate studies suggest that being inactive for more than three hours a day decreases people’s life expectancy by two years.

The bottom line is that the participants in the study, who have diabetes, were simply not moving as much. The research doesn’t prove that sitting down for long causes the disease. Nevertheless, it raises a good question: Are you physically active enough?

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What is worrying about the validity of the results is that more than 2,400 middle-aged and older people participated; all wearing an accelerometer for eight days to precisely and objectively measure how much they move around at all times. This is a pretty big number. What are the chances that all of those who have diabetes – 714 (29 percent) – were simply lazy?

Some of them had a severe form of the condition, which is what the researchers thought was the reason for the longer sedentary breaks. These people's specific numbers were not included in the final results. But even then the math didn’t change. "Sedentary behavior may play a significant role in the development and prevention of type 2 diabetes, independent of high-intensity physical activity," according to Julianne van der Berg from Maastricht University, a co-author of the study.

People with normal glucose tolerance spent on average 9.28 hours sitting; those with impaired glucose tolerance were in a sedentary position for 9.38 hours. In comparison, the people who had diabetes were sitting down for 9.71 hours.

The ultimate conclusion was: "This may suggest that sedentary behavior at least partly preceded type 2 diabetes, as the associations were similar among participants who did not necessarily have to spend more time sedentary because of their health."

The final numbers took into consideration the participants’ age, sex, education level, smoking habits, drinking, walking problems, overall health, body mass index, and exercising routine. After that, the authors of the study calculated the risk of having diabetes (22 percent) or metabolic syndrome (39 percent) for each additional hour spent sedentary.

The most effective ways to prevent the metabolic disease is by eating a healthy diet and losing weight if a person is obese or overweight. Exercising is another preventive practice. This study backs that theory up.

More readings: 

Does Eating at Night Really Cause Weight Gain?

How Many Miles a Week Should You Run to Get Healthy?

What Your Feet Can Reveal about Your Health

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